The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to make drastic cuts to conservation spending through a continuing resolution it passed Feb 19. These initiatives would deliver crushing blows to wildlands, public health and to economic growth. We followed the debate by live blogging from the Hill. You can read that blog below.
More than 100 million Americans watched the Super Bowl clash between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers but they may not realize there’s an even bigger battle they should tune into this month – the fight over federal spending that could decimate pristine forests, pollute our air and water, close national parks and more.
We prefer to inform you about advances in wild land conservation, but this week that opportunity has been denied for Idaho’s magnificent backcountry forests.
At the end of January, a federal district court upheld a dangerous federal rule that eliminates protection for 400,000 acres of Idaho’s wild backcountry and exposes more than 5 million acres in the state to greater threat of development.
The forest patch in my Maryland backyard has always been a part of my life and is filled with fond memories. This patch is one of the last remaining outposts of nature amongst the rapid development in Frederick’s outskirts, cut off from its brethren.
Yet this small patch has been thriving for decades.
A decade after it was first adopted by the U.S. Forest Service, the Roadless Area Conservation Rule has proven to be remarkably successful in protecting the 58.5 million acres of national forest roadless areas from road building and logging. Only about 75 miles of road building has occurred in the roadless areas — far less than the Forest Service had predicted a decade ago — and just a miniscule fraction of the unroaded forests has been logged, mostly in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.
I spent a recent Friday afternoon uncharacteristically dressed in a jacket and tie, sitting in a court room, not particularly focused on what was being said. I found my mind wandering back to remember some of Idaho’s spectacular backcountry that I’d hiked this summer. It was the fate of much of that backcountry that was being debated by attorneys in that courtroom.
A new report from the US Department of Agriculture (which oversees the Forest Service) confirms that America’s forests are trapping and storing billions of tons of carbon pollution – and increases in forest restoration have trapped emissions equivalent to taking 135 million cars off the highways.
A University of Montana study about the connection between logging and wildfires ratifies what many firefighters have long held as a truism: In Ponderosa pine and mixed conifer, fires tend to be hotter and nastier on logged ground than in unlogged forests.
It’s not every day that The Wilderness Society gets to speak on air for 30 minutes about the heart and soul of why our work matters. Treehuggers International recently gave us exactly that opportunity – airing an interview with senior resource analyst Mike Anderson in our Seattle office about the importance of our roadless forests.